Older sister: Missing teens "on the run" from father
(KUTV) After 18 months on the run, law authorities now know where 16-year-old Sydney and 15-year-old Danielle Wolferts are. But they aren't releasing those details.
Their father, Brian Wolferts, was granted sole custody of the girls, including the eldest, Brittany, who is now 20 years old.
For years, the teens kept journals with allegations of physical and psychological abuse from their father, but they never brought formal charges against him.
"It was physical when we were younger, and then once the courts started getting involved, he switched to mental and emotional abuse," said Brittany.
After being awarded custody of the teens, Brian Wolferts moved with them to Topeka, Kansas. Then, in mid-July 2014, the teens ran away during a visit to see their mother in Orem.
On Sunday, after a year and a half, police found the girls with their mother, Michelle Wolferts, in an apartment in Pleasant Grove.
Michelle Wolferts was arrested on the misdemeanor charges of custodial interference, filing a false police report and housing fraud. She was released on bail Sunday afternoon.WATCH: Interview with Girl's mother, Michelle Wolferts
Wolferts told 2News she had been on the run with her daughters since August 2014. They had stayed with various friends in homes around the Utah area.
Brittany Wolferts called the ruling awarding her father custody a flaw in court system. Some of her mother's pleadings, she said, were stricken from the record because she couldn't afford certain fees.
"When you run into this kind of corruption, where we'd been abused and were given to our abuser due to court technicalities, that's completely wrong," she said.
Brittany moved out of her father's home two years ago, when she turned 18, and has been fighting to keep her younger sisters out of his custody.
"If they don't feel safe around a certain parent, and they say they've been hurt by this parent their entire lives, I don't understand how people can say they're just brainwashed or they're just lying," she said.
Lt. Craig Martinez, with Orem Police, said the teens are in custody and have access to legal and psychological council.
"They obviously have rights. We'd like them to voice those concerns to us. Right now, they won't say anything," Martinez said. "Our primary job is to get [them] to the primary caregiver that the court has seen fit for them to be with."
The girls' mother and sister were not allowed to be in contact with them. But their father and sole custodian was on his way to see the teens Sunday, police said.
"The father wants what's best for the girls," Martinez said. "He doesn't want to move forward with the situation if they're uncomfortable. So they're probably going to be working with DCFS to integrate them back into the home."
The courts will continue to sort out the custody situation.
"In law enforcement, you have to look at both sides and hope the truth is actually somewhere in the middle," said Martinez.
Michelle Wolferts said she believes the teens are capable of making their own choices about where to live and who to talk to.
"Children who aren't dealing with divorce have those choices," she said. "My children should have the choice to talk to whoever they want to."